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It took some searching, but eventually they actually found the ship - a somewhat battered teltac. It flew without problem, though, and Jolinar had only hid it because she had not dared flying directly back to the Tok'ra, with an ashrak after her.

After three very long days, they were finally approaching Earth.

"This thing has got cloak, right?" O'Neill asked.

"Yes. It does," Sam assured him. She checked the readings. "We should be able to land in twenty minutes... wait, I'm getting something on the scanners..."


"Ships... a ha'tak, a couple alkesh'es, and some teltacs!" Sam exclaimed, disbelief in her voice. "Activating the cloak!"

"What?" O'Neill repeated. "How many? Are they attacking?"

"Did they see us?" Daniel wondered.

"No, I don't think so... and they're not attacking. They're just... in orbit."

"If this is indeed the future, perhaps this is a fleet belonging to the Tau'ri?" Teal'c suggested.

"I don't think so..." Sam said, looking at the reading. "Heru'ur?"

Teal'c studied the symbol on the display. "Indeed."

"Crap! Why did he have to attack just when we arrive?" O'Neill complained.

"Colonel, as I said, they're not attacking. They're just... sitting there."

"There would be more ha'taks and alkesh'es if the were. Heru'ur has many ships," Teal'c said.

Sam frowned as she checked more readings. "Another thing... I'm not picking up any radio transmissions. There should be a constant background noise of it, as close as we are, and there just isn't!"

As they came closer to the planet and entered into an orbit - keeping their distance to the Goa'uld ships - they noticed there was much less light than what was normal on the night side of the planet.

"What's going on down there?" Daniel wondered.

By now Sam had run several scans. "The planet has been bombarded," she told them in a flat voice. "It's occupied by the Goa'uld. There's a ha'tak sitting on top of Cheyenne Mountain - and in several other places."

They were all silent for a long time, studying the images from the teltac's scanners.

"What now?" Daniel said at last.

"We're going down there to see what has happened, to gather intel," O'Neill decided.

"Are you crazy?" Daniel exclaimed.

"As Major Carter pointed out, the planet is now under Goa'uld control. It will be very dangerous," Teal'c reminded them.

"It's not like we've got a lot of other options, right? If the Goa'uld has taken Earth, I want to at least know how it happened!" O'Neill said.

They had set the teltac down in Pike National Forest near Colorado Springs, since that was where the Stargate was still located. They did not dare land closer, and instead opted for a walk of about twenty kilometers. It was a good thing the three day long trip had given them time to rest and heal up, so their injuries were now mostly gone.

"You think this is where the Goa'uld stays?" O'Neill asked, when they walked to Colorado Springs. "Heru'ur, I mean."

"Depending on how long ago the planet was conquered." Sam grimaced. "I doubt Heru'ur would be here himself. Maybe from time to time, but I wouldn't think Earth would be his first choice."

"On the contrary. Since it is the first world, it is a great price. Heru'ur may well have made it his home," Teal'c said.

"Here? In Colorado Springs?" Daniel wondered.

"Heru'ur is famous for his expensive tastes. His palace on his homeworld Dashur is said to be made entirely of marble, gemstones, and gold," Teal'c told them.

"Then he's not staying in Colorado Springs! Maybe some old royal palace somewhere," Daniel said. "The Palace of Versaille or the Winter Palace, perhaps."

"I'm sure the snakehead found something he liked somewhere!" O'Neill grumbled. "But as long as he's not here, I don't care about him at the moment."

"Since the Stargate is here in Colorado Springs, he will no doubt have a vassal here. In fact, he likely has several, on a planet with as many slaves as this one," Teal'c told them. He hesitated. "I apologize, but that is what the humans of this world has become."

O'Neill sighed. "I know, Teal'c. Doesn't mean I'm going to like it."

It was past midnight when they finally reached the outskirts of Colorado Springs. The city was completely dark, with no street lights. None of the houses had any light visible either, so either everyone was in bed, or they had pulled the curtains and only had candle lights or similar. Most likely it was both.

The dark, deserted streets were eerie, as were the signs of decay everywhere, the badly kept houses and gardens, and the roads were grass had started to grow. All signs of a modern civilization deteriorating.

Here and there were sign of battle damage, but there was not much of it in this part of the city.

"This is depressing," Daniel observed morosely.

"Agreed," Sam said. "Listen, we need different clothing if we're to avoid being discovered." She turned to look at Teal'c, who was wearing a bandana in order to hide his forehead tattoo.

"Right. This stuff identifies us as Air Force - or at least Earth military, and I'm guessing the Goa'uld won't like that," O'Neill said.

"They will assume we are in opposition to their rule and capture us, interrogate us, and torture us to death. Most likely more than once," Teal'c informed him.

O'Neill grimaced. "Okay, I didn't need to be reminded. Different clothing is first order of business, then. I think there's a clothing store a few streets from here, that we can raid."

"It's doubtful there's still anything left over in any store, don't you think?" Sam said.

O'Neill nodded slowly. "Yes, if we're far into the future and the Goa'uld subjugated Earth a long time ago, but we don't know that, do we? It could be just, oh, a year ago? Couldn't it?"

"A bit more I think, but yes, I'll agree it doesn't look like it was many years ago. For one thing, the roads aren't overgrown enough."

"Couldn't we go see some of the people we know here in Colorado Springs?" Daniel suggested. "That would be an easy way to get information."

"We could, and we're going to, but I don't want to endanger anyone more than necessary, so let's find some clothes first and see if we can't blend in a little better," O'Neill said.

It had taken longer than expected to find some clothes. Not just because the first store has been empty and clearly plundered, but also because as they soon learned, Jaffa guards were patrolling the streets.

And so the eastern sky was beginning to lighten when they were finally ready to seek out any of their former co workers.

"I really wish we'd been able to find a newspaper or something, so we could figure out when this is," Daniel observed.

"What use would that have been? There won't have been newspaper produced since the Goa'uld came," O'Neill pointed out.

"True, but if we're assuming it's only been a few years since they arrived, then a newspaper printed just before that would help us," Daniel said.

"We'll know soon enough," O'Neill told him. "Ferretti's apartment is on this street, and if anyone can help us, it's him."

"Well, it was May 2nd 2002 when the quake hit back on the planet Kashi," Sam said. "Looks like it's about the same time of year here, actually."

"Well, maybe that damn timetravel device only works in whole years, or something." O'Neill shrugged, then winced a little. His shoulder still hurt somewhat.

They walked up the stairs to the second floor.

"Why would it use Earth years? It was made by aliens - and not Goa'uld or someone for whom Earth might hold a special meaning," Sam pointed out.

O'Neill knocked on the door to Ferretti's apartment. Then, when no one appeared quickly, he knocked harder. A few moments later the door was ripped open and Ferretti stared at them with an expression that could only be described as terrified. It quickly changed to one of surprise, even shock.

The members of SG-1 in turn stared at Ferretti. He looked mostly like himself, but he was a lot thinner, and he was wearing worn and patched clothing.

"Did we wake you? Sorry about that. Can we come in?" O'Neill said.

Ferretti slowly shook his head. "How are you alive? I mean... yeah, yeah, of course you can come in." He stepped aside with a sheepish look. "I thought you were Jaffa. I'm relieved that's not the case." He smiled at Teal'c. "Present company excluded, of course."

Teal'c inclined his head to Ferretti. "I understand."

After closing the door after them, Ferretti turned to his guests. "I have no idea how you guys can be alive, but you're very welcome. Do you want breakfast?"

"That would be great, we've walked pretty far," O'Neill said. "So, you thought we were dead. Can't say I'm surprised."

"From what they told me, there was no way you guys could have made it!" Ferretti said, leading them to his kitchen. "I should have realized SG-1 couldn't be killed off just like that!" He smiled. "Oh, I don't have any coffee. I hope herb tea works? That's all I can get."

Sam and Daniel both wrinkled their noses at the same time, making O'Neill laugh.

"We'll live," O'Neill said, sitting down on a chair.

"How long have we been gone?" Sam wondered.

"Yeah, what's the date?" O'Neill asked. "And year."

Ferretti gave them a strange look. "Don't you know? Where have you been?" He shook his head. "You've been gone for almost two years. It's May 6th, 2002 now."

"Uh... 2002?" Daniel asked.

"That can't be true!" Sam insisted. "You mean we've only been gone for 4 days?"

"So - we're gone for a few days, and Earth gets conquered by the Goa'uld?" O'Neill asked.

"4 days? No, you've been gone since... mid-July, 2000!" Ferretti told them.

"What?!" The members of SG-1 all exclaimed, staring at him.

"Carter! Do you have an explanation?" O'Neill asked.

Sam was silent for a long time, then she groaned. "Of course! Not timetravel! The device must have changed the timeline!"

"What are you talking about?" Ferretti said.

"How could it change the timeline?" Daniel wondered, disbelieving.

"I have no idea, but you did say there was a text about 'your life will never be the same'. Maybe it meant that your past would change?" Sam suggested. "And it does fit with all of this - the Goa'uld attacking, us supposedly being dead..."

"I suppose it could have meant that, yeah, but couldn't it have sent us to an alternate reality instead? I mean, like when I visited that other reality, Daniel said.

Sam nodded. "It could, there is no way to know, actually, since the effect would be the same. In fact, this is an alternate universe that was created when the timeline was changed."

"This is giving me a headache, but suppose I believe this - why aren't we changed? Or dead?" O'Neill asked.

"There was a forcefield springing up around us, remember? That was probably a stasis field or something, protecting us, Sam speculated.

O'Neill groaned. "Why would anyone make something like that? A machine to change the timeline?"

"Maybe to change something in the past that they didn't like?" Daniel suggested.

"Perhaps their people was losing a war," Teal'c said.

"Regardless of the reason, it's highly dangerous and irresponsible!" Sam said, an almost offended look on her face.

"Okay, listen, I'm going to make that breakfast, and then we'll all sit down and talk!" Ferretti insisted. "You're driving me crazy!"

"Good idea - we'd like some information too. We don't know anything about what's happened here for the last almost two years!" O'Neill said, unhappily.

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